Sunday, May 20, 2018

Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

"The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus."  (Acts 1: 14).

Today is the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church.  A brand new feast of Mary mandated by the Church to be celebrated Monday after the Feast of Pentecost from now till the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

"Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise,
for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia!" (Gospel Acclamation, Monday, May 21, Memorial of Mary Mother of the Church).

It is a constant teaching of the Church that the Mission of Jesus is deeply interconnected with that of Mary. Remember that Mary is Theotokos, God bearer and the Proto Evangelion foresaw her mission in Genesis 3: 15.

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.(Genesis 3: 15).

On the Cross, Jesus Christ gave His Mother to you and myself in the person of John the Apostle, the representative of mankind during the Sacrifice of Calvary.

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19: 25 - 27).

"O God, Father of mercies,
whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also;
grant, we pray,  that with her loving help,  your Church may be more fruitful day by day, and exulting in the holiness of her children,  may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son... "  (Collect, Monday, May 21, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, May 19, 2018

It is Pentecost!

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said...... “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  (Cf John 20: 19 - 23).

Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church.  Happy Birthday Mother Church, ever young and yet ancient.  A Virgin and yet have given birth to billions of children.  Your journey to the heavenly Jerusalem will be crowned with success.

"It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

"For, bringing your Paschal Mystery to completion, you bestowed the Holy Spirit today on those you made your adopted children by uniting them to your Only Begotten Son....

"Therefore, overcome with paschal joy, every land, every people exults in your praise and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts, sing together the unending hymn of your glory.... "(Preface of the Feast of Pentecost).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, May 18, 2018

Paul evangelized Rome as a prisoner.

"He [Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him,  and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."  (Acts 28: 30 - 31).

The above scripture text is the remarkable end of the Acts of the Apostles.  Tomorrow is Sunday, May 20th, Pentecost Sunday. We started reading Acts of the Apostles 50 days ago from Easter Sunday. Let us recap a few salient points with regard to the mission of Paul:

1.  Acts 1: 8, Jesus predicted: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…and to the ends of the earth.”  Paul has fulfilled this prophecy on behalf of the Church.
2.  "The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome." (Acts 23: 11).

The remarkable thing about Paul's ministry in Rome is how it came about.  Paul was in house arrest and could not move from place to place. Yet he was able to evangelize Rome thanks to Divine Providence.

Never diminish the force and power of Divine Providence.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."  (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lord You know that I love You.

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he [Jesus] had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”  (John 21:  17).

Why did Jesus ask Simon Peter three times if he loved him.  Peter denied Jesus three times on the night of His trial.  It is clear that Peter has come a full circle with his awareness of his sin and repentance.  Jesus wanted to let Peter put this misfortune once and for all behind him. Jesus wants a new beginning for the Prince of the Apostles.

What if Jesus asks you the same question:  "Do you love Me?" How would you answer?  I may answer thus:  "Yes Lord Jesus, I love You. Please take my weak and compromised love and make it strong."  Then Jesus says to me:  "Bring Me all your heart, all your mind, all your will. Bring Me all your time, talent and treasure. Bring Me all your weaknesses. Then come and follow Me."
Thank You Jesus.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Father, imbue powerfully with spiritual gifts.

"With boldness let us approach the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace as a timely help, alleluia." (Hebrews 4: 16).

This is Pentecost.  Three days to go! The Liturgy is filled with sounds and smells of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the Birthday 🎂 of the Church. A glorious day!  Are you ready? All you need to get the action is great Desire and ability to Ask.  Everybody can say:  "Give me. Help me."  Come with boldness and ask for that Promise of the Father which He cannot refuse.

"May your Spirit, O Lord, we pray,
imbue us powerfully with spiritual gifts, that he may give us a mind pleasing to you and graciously conform us to your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."  (Collect Thursday, May 17th, 7th Week of Easter).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Beware of false prophets.

"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.  And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them."  (Acts 20: 29 - 30).

Paul the Apostle spoke of savage wolves whose only objective is to destroy Church unity.  Throughout Church history, we have seen a string of these wolves that inflicted deep wounds in the the Body of Christ. I will mention just one: the Arian Heresy.  Arius was a wily Egyptian priest who lived in the 4th century. He denied that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man. It took the Church probably over 200 years to overcome this heresy.  Today this heresy is recycled in groups like Jehovah Witness.

What is the solution to these demonic attacks on the truth? Paul advices:  "So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears."  (Acts 20: 31). Jesus prays:  "Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are."  (John 17: 11).  And He warned:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves."  (Matthew 7: 15).

Lord Jesus, consecrate us in the truth. "Your word is truth."  (John 17:  17).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, May 14, 2018

You can start enjoying eternal life now.

"Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ."  (John 17: 3).

To know God is to enjoy right here and right now attributes of eternal life. What does it mean to know God as Father?

+ To know that God is truly your Father and that you are His adopted child.
+ God is your Father at every single moment of your life. He never changes.
+ He loves you with an infinite love which can never increase or decrease.
+ God watches over you day and night and not a single hair falls from your head without His permission.
+ In His infinite wisdom, God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
+ Even when you experience evil in your life, God can bring good out of the situation because of His infinite power.
+ In His infinite goodness, God makes everything to the advantage of those who love Him.

When you know God like this, you will experience abundant life here on earth.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, May 13, 2018

God chose you before the foundation of the world for some good works.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain."  (John 15: 16).

It is hard enough to believe that God planned for you to be where you are at this moment doing what you are doing. But to be told that God chose you before the foundation of the world to be who you are at the this time will simply be incredible beyond compare.  Read what follows below from Ephesians 1: 3 - 4 and believe and stop being a Doubting Thomas. (John 20: 24 - 29).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him."  (Ephesians 1: 3 - 4).

What do you know about Divine Providence?  Below is some of what the Church teaches about Divine Providence:

"God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son "upholding the universe by his word of power" (Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life."  (CCC 320).

321 "Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end." (CCC 321 and follows).

Today is the feast of St Matthias who was chosen before the foundation of the world to replace Judas.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Jesus will return as you see Him go.

"Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens?
This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven
will return as you saw him go, alleluia."  (Acts 1: 11).

Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension in our Archdiocese.  Some other dioceses around the world celebrated the feast on Thursday, May 10th, 2018.

The Ascension into Heaven of Jesus watched by His disciples.  This event continues to bring Christians throughout the centuries immense joy and hope.  Joy to see the exaltation of One who overcame death.  Hope in the sure expectation of His Second Coming, not as a little poor child but like a Mighty King surrounded by a sun a million times brighter than the sun we know.

"God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."  (Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 47:6–7).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Have you experienced the pure joy of answered prayer?

"JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."  (John 16: 23).

Do you know the pure joy of answered prayer? In my experience, there is nothing as delightful as the happiness you feel when your prayer is answered.
The truth is that most often our prayers are answered but we do not pay attention.  Like children we quickly forget the cherished toy or doll and have our eyes on something different.

Pentecost 2018 is May 20th.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and eyes to see the answered prayers in your life and to show you how God answers your prayers.

The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10: 10.  In our key Scripture today,  (John 16: 23) Jesus promises to fulfill any request made to the Father in His name.  This is a serious promise.

"Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete." (John 16: 24)

Most of our prayer involves asking for one thing or the other. God created us to be completely dependent on him for everything. Why be ashamed to ask for help in time of need?

Ask and you shall receive and your faith will grow stronger.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, May 11, 2018

Have you experienced the joy of answered prayer?

"JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."  (John 16: 23).

Do you know the pure joy of answered prayer? In my experience, there is nothing as delightful as the happiness you feel when your prayer is answered.
The truth is that most often our prayers are answered but we do not pay attention.  Like children we quickly forget the cherished toy or doll and have our eyes on something different.

Pentecost 2018 is May 20th.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and eyes to see the answered prayers in your life and to show you how God answers your prayers.

The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10: 10.  In our key Scripture today,  (John 16: 23) Jesus promises to fulfill any request made to the Father in His name.  This is a serious promise.

"Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete." (John 16: 24)

Most of our prayer involves asking for one thing or the other. God created us to be completely dependent on him for everything. Why be ashamed to ask for help in time of need?

Ask and you shall receive and your faith will grow stronger.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I tell you the truth: No Cross, No Crown.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy."  (John 16: 20).

Do not even look at the world as they are engaged in their ecstatic show of joy. I tell you the truth, it is all show.  I promise that you will experience the true and lasting joy. He who laughs last, laughs best.

"When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world."  (John 16:  21).

How many times will I tell you that it is My Father's gracious will that the Cross will precede the Crown.  Let the story of pregnancy teach you this lesson.  I tell you the truth, nobody can change this order.

"Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory."  (Cf Luke 24: 46, 26)
The Cross is a divine necessity.

"No one will take your joy away from you."  (John 16: 22).
You can trust My word.

"Hear our prayers, O Lord, so that what was promised by the sanctifying power of your Word may everywhere be accomplished through the working of the Gospel and that all your adopted children may attain what the testimony of truth has foretold.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen."  (Collect Friday, May 11th, 6th Week of Easter).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Do not be afraid Bros.

Do not be afraid

“They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat.  This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I.  Do not be afraid.”  (John 6: 19 – 20)

Jesus is in every event in my life.  He is saying to me here:  ‘Do not be afraid.  I am present.’  How can I make this truth serve me everyday?  In the midst of the hot events of my life, how can I call to mind the sure presence of Jesus?  One way is to cultivate the presence of Jesus through the Jesus prayer.  Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I believe you are present in my life through the Holy Spirit.  I thank you for the peace and tranquility that is your gift.  Sometimes I forget about your presence and become anxious and afraid.  I feel that I am in control of events and I feel so inadequate.  Lord teach me to live in your presence every moment of my life.  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, in God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what power has human strength over me?”  (Psalm 56: 3-4)

In order to live constantly in the presence of Jesus, I will immerse myself in the words of Jesus and say the Jesus prayer.

“It is I.  Do not be afraid.”

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Crispus heard the message and believed.

"Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized."  (Acts 18: 8).

What does it mean that Crispus came to believe in the Lord?  "The Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized?"  What is belief? What is faith?
These people heard the core message of the Gospel from the lips of St Paul.  At this time, there was no New Testament.  No document to check and verify their statement. They must have heard something similar to this:  "Jesus who was promised through the Prophets has come. He taught us about God and His plan for universal salvation. He was crucified according to the Scriptures. He died and rose again from the dead. He will come again to judge the world.  We are witnesses to these facts."

Crispus and many Corinthians heard a similar message and believed.  They believed the message because they were predisposed to believe.  They believed because they judged Paul a credible messenger and witness.  If you are reading this, you are predisposed to faith, to believe.  You believe in the word of God. You believe in the teaching of the Church.

We are 10 days to the great feast of Pentecost, Sunday, May 10th. How is your faith?
"Behold, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28: 20).
Do you believe this?

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Spirit of truth will guide us to all truth.

"But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth......and will declare to you the things that are coming."  (John 16: 13).

The Spirit of Jesus will guide us to all truth.  All truth pertaining to salvation. Let us consider for a moment some of these awesome and mysterious truths that Jesus Christ revealed during His ministry:
+ The Trinity
+ The Holy Spirit
+ Sacraments
+ The Cross
+  The Church
+  Mystery of Mary

The Holy Spirit has led the Church to all these truths.  Most of the Church Councils in the past 2000 years have produced dogmatic definitions on these truths.  The teachings are constant and unalterable.

The Holy Spirit "will declare to you the things that are coming."  (John 16: 13).  What constitutes this revelation?  One thing that comes to mind is the appearance of the Man of Lawlessness, sometimes called the Anti-Christ.  He is a prince in the Kingdom of the Father of lies. (Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 1 - 12). Through the spirit of discernment, the Church will be able to grasp the Signs of the Times and expose him.

"Graciously be present to your people, we pray, O Lord, and lead those you have imbued with heavenly mysteries to pass from former ways to newness of life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen."  (Prayer after Communion).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, May 07, 2018

Spirit of light and love, come and fill us with Yourself.

"I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth. (Cf John 16: 7, 13).

What does the Church mean when she confesses: “I believe in the Holy Spirit”?
"To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess faith in the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity who proceeds from the Father and the Son and “is worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son”. The Spirit is “sent into our hearts” (Galatians 4:6) so that we might receive new life as sons of God."  (CCC 136)

"O Holy Spirit of Light and Love, to You I consecrate my mind, heart and will, for time and eternity. May I be ever docile to Your divine inspirations and to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church whose infallible Guide You are.  May my heart be ever inflamed with the love of God and love of neighbor; may my will be ever in harmony with Your divine will. May my life faithfully imitate the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him with the Father and You, Divine Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen."  (Consecration to the Holy Spirit by Pope St Pius X).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Lord prosper the work of our hands.

Prosper the Work of our Hands

“May the favor of the Lord our God be ours,
Prosper the work of our hands!
Prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90: 17)

As mentioned once in this Blog, many years ago I read from time to time Christian Science literature for the sheer beauty of the language in expressing of faith. Here is something I culled from their literature in.

“God’s plan for man includes full employment. Employment is meaningful and fruitful activity. The disciple who is preparing for his life’s work is fully employed. God is omni-active. And so should man who reflects God’s image. He is employed in the business of expressing love and reflecting the divine understanding which are always fruitful. We can begin to prove this right now and bring healing to every aspect of our work.

Our understanding of and trust in these truths result in tangible provision for our needs, and enable us to help others as well. Our prayers and proofs of God’s healing care bless us, our Church and everyone.”

To summarize: There is no unemployment in God's Vineyard. Not every meaningful employment is paid employment.  The student and the volunteer are meaningfully employed.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Advocate whom I will send you will help you testify to Me.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning."  (John 15: 26 - 27).

To testify to Christ or not testify, that is the question. That is the existential choice we have to make.  Those who belong to the Truth will testify to Jesus. (Cf John 8: 47).  "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  (John 10: 27).

There are certain risks to fully committing to Jesus.  Hear them from the Master's lips.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God."  (John 16:  1-2).

Be prepared to lose your job, club membership, etc. They will assassinate your character, ruin your business and finances, etc. Are you prepared for this for the sake of Jesus?  Will you stay or run?

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Where is My Mother?

Mother and Son - 2 Hearts: One Heartbeat!

"The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  (Luke 8: 19 - 21).

In the new Jesus Christ Superstar Live Concert 2018, I was speechless with amazement when Jesus cried out from the cross:
"Where is My Mother?"  Even Jesus needed the closeness of a mother at such a desperate moment.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Love is patient and kind.

"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you."  (John 15: 12).

Still on the subject of love:
"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God." (1 John 4: 7).

And again:
"In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins."  (1 John 4: 10).

St. John the Evangelist is our Catechist this Sunday. The dominant theme in the Second Reading and the Gospel for today is from the Apostle of Love, LOVE.  I am not sure I fully understand what Love is and how to do love until I go to St Paul to help me.  St Paul nails it down for me in a cut and dry manner:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,  it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,  it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7).

So Jesus is patient and kind to me. He is not rude to me and does not rejoice when I fail but jumps for joy when I succeed. Jesus believes in spite of my sins and faults that I will make it to Heaven.

This is how Jesus wants us to love one another.  I am beginning to understand.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

I will bless you if you honor the Lord's Day of Rest.

Blessed are those who honor My Sabbath Day of rest.

"If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the Sabbath a delight,
the LORD’s holy day glorious;
If you glorify it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."  (Isaiah 58: 13 - 14).

The Sabbath/Sunday Rest is a very important institution in Judaism and Christianity. 
The Sunday Rest is a rehearsal for eternal rest which if you think of it is the main promise of Salvation.
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"  (Matthew 16: 26).

"Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong."  (Isaiah 56: 2 NLT)

Sunday Rest comes once a week and reminds us of creation and the Resurrection of Jesus in a weekly rhythm that forces us to pause our hectic addiction to activity. 

He who keeps holy the Lord's Day is blessed in accordance with the promises. 

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work."  (Exodus 20:8-10 NLT)

"That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes]." (Exodus 20:11 AMP)

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, May 04, 2018

If the world laughed at Me, they will laugh at you.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first..... If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."  (John 15: 18, 20).

If the world laughed at Me, they will laugh at you.
If they derided Me, they will deride you.
If the world called me mad and worthless, they will do exactly the same to you.  Make no mistake about it because no slave is greater than his master.

"Be who you are created to be and you will set the world on fire."  (St Catherine of Siena).

No testing, no testimony.
Every Saint is tested:
Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Mother Teresa of Kolkata, Therese of the Child Jesus, Patrick, Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, Vincent de Paul, etc.
What makes you think that you will be a different type of Saint?

SeekFirstcommunity.com

May is the Month of Mary.

May is the Month of Mary:

The Fifteen Promises of Mary to Christians Who Recite the Rosary
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against Hell; it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities and will lift them to the desire of eternal things.  Oh, that soul would sanctify themselves by this means!
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune.  God will not chastise him in His justice; he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in Paradise.
9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, May 03, 2018

I chose you to go and bear fruit.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you."  (John 15: 16).

Thank You Jesus.  "I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters.  (Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23 RM).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Lord, bless and prosper the work of our hands.

#5.  "I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings."

Lord, prosper the work of our hands.
From the dawn of religion, when primitive man first noticed the existence of a mysterious force influencing the course of his life, Cave man offered prayers and sacrifices to this Being to bless his planting, harvesting and hunting.  You remember all the goddesses of fertility in the ancient world?  Aphrodite, Adonis, etc.

Jesus is promising in the 5th Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to bless and prosper the work of our hands.  I have made this prayer long before I became aware of the Sacred Heart Promises.   Has the Lord Jesus always blessed and prospered the work of my hands?  Yes! It took the gifts of spiritual understanding to see how this works.
God knows exactly what I need and when I need it.  Certain jobs and enterprises could lead me to "too much money."  Opposite of my destiny.... He blocks them. I am grateful Jesus.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  (John 14: 8).

What do you want most from the Father here and now? What is the greatest desire of your heart? When I asked myself this question, I could not pick one desire.  As I struggled to land on the mother of all desires, I remembered the promise of Jesus coming at the end of today's Gospel:

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."  (John 14: 13 -14).

Then I decided. I will ask for the mother of All Gifts.  "Lord Jesus, fill me to the brim with Your Holy Spirit and through Your Holy Spirit fill me with His gifts and His fruits."

Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Have you not seen that all you need has been provided by God's gracious Providence.

 "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you." (John 15: 7).

Let us be honest.  Do you believe that if you ask for whatever you want, it will be given to you? If you do not believe this, you call Jesus a Liar.  A Liar with a big "L" since He is God.

The truth that God provides all our needs in a timely manner is an idea that is found throughout  sacred scripture.  Amazingly, this is also the constant teaching of the Church from time immemorial.  Yet, ask any man on the street whether he believes that God is supplying everything he needs in a timely manner and you may notice some doubts and hesitations.

God's gracious and loving providence is expressed in this line in a song used frequently by the Church:

"Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"

"Gracious ordaining" means of course God's providence.  The first time I became aware of this song in a worship service, I said to myself, "Wait a minute.  This isn't my experience."
I thought about it at the time and decided that this question like many questions about faith and religion is simply too mysterious.  I now realize that this attitude was an error born of unbelief.  What I should have done was to challenge God in prayer to show me how He met all my needs by His gracious ordaining.

But recently, as I read and reflect more on the subject of Prayer, I begin to get some insight.  The key to understanding the question is this important teaching of Jesus:

"What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  (Luke 11: 11 -13)

Yes indeed.  God provides all our necessities according to His gracious and loving Providence.  Trust that the Father knows exactly what you need and when you need it.

"By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."  (John 15: 7).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, April 30, 2018

Let not this heart be troubled.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."  (John 14: 27).

How does the world give peace?
Is your family beautiful in every way? Is your health superb all round? No financial headaches whatsoever. Great job. Big home. Big cars. Great food.  If all the above is excellent for you, then you deserve to join the peace club.
Alas, since none of the above is guaranteed to last, you may never be able to join the peace club on earth.  An example:  You may have all the money in the world.  You may stock the best food and wine. What if you are too sick to eat anything.  Nobody can cheat Divine Providence.  The only thing we are guaranteed is the present moment. Everyone can learn to trust the promises of God.

"Let not this heart be troubled,
But let it rest in you.
For with you,
Every sorrow will be washed away,
Let not my mind be burdened,
But set it free with truth,
For every care is lost in understanding grace.  (Sarah Hart).

Here is what the peace of Christ looks like.  Peace above all worldly circumstances and temporary setbacks:
"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4: 6 - 7).

"O God, who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ,
grant your people constancy in faith and hope, that we may never doubt the promises of which we have learned from you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen."  (Collect, Tuesday, 5th Week of Easter).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Holy Spirit is the Deep Memory of the Church.

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”  (John 14:  25 - 26).

Jesus taught with authority.  He is still teaching today with authority through His Church.  The Holy Spirit is the Help and Teacher.  He is the deep memory of the Church.  "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”  (Luke 10: 16).

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit, they shall be satisfied (Cf Matthew 5:6).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How do we bear much fruit in the Kingdom?

"Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."  (John 15: 4 - 5)

How do we bear much fruit? Remain in Jesus.  What is the principle of productivity?  Abide in Christ.  How do we abide in Christ?

We live in Christ through the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a holy exchange of gift. Through it, Jesus shares with us His divine life. Another word for God's divine life in us is sanctifying grace.

We also live in Christ through his words. "If you remain in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."  (John 8: 31 - 33).

Our fruitfulness depends therefore on this dynamic relationship with Christ living in us.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, April 27, 2018

Jesus promises true freedom on one condition.

"If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8: 31 – 32)

Jesus here makes a promise that I find very attractive and irresistible.
Who on earth does not want to be free? Free of worries, fears and doubts. Free from debt.  Free from crippling worries over health and financial problems.

The promise has an easy to fulfill condition: Feed on the word of God, season out of season. Be constant, steadfast, plugged into the word of God.  To do this is evidence of faith and perseverance. The longer you make the word of God your home, the more your faith grows. Then you come to understand what Jesus means by freedom. Then you come to taste and relish the peace that passes all understanding.  (Philippians 4: 7).

When Jesus sets you free you will be free indeed (John 8: 36).  The fears, worries, doubts and addictions are over.
You are at the same time freed from sin (Romans 6: 18) because you are free from the principle of sin and death (Romans 8: 2). Jesus Christ has freed us from our sins by his blood (Revelation 1: 5)

You have become a new person; indeed a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5: 17).  Go for Freedom!

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

"JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me."  (John 14: 1).

Will having faith in God and Jesus relieve you of your burdens? Pay the mortgage? Bring home your estranged husband? Heal your son of opioid addiction?  Most crisis we have in society today has roots in a crisis of faith.   When we cease to believe or our belief is very weak, the foundation of our moral and social center become fragmented.  Things fall apart and the center cannot hold tightly.  Pope Benedict  and most of recent popes recognized this phenomenon for many years.  Alas, science and technology have not delivered on their promised Paradise.  Automation, microwaves, smart phones, smart cars, smart homes have all failed to procure us the peace of mind and soul and body we yearn so desperately for.

Jesus came to bring us a simple message of salvation.  Jesus Christ has complete power to save us from these evils.  (Acts 4: 12; Romans 1: 16). Do you believe this? YES or NO?

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10: 9).

The alternative is unthinkable.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

No ambassador is greater than the king who sent him.

"When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, He said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger  greater than the one who sent him.  If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it."  (John 13: 16 - 17).

No slave is greater than his master.  Absolutely. We know this.  No ambassador is greater than the king who sent him.  Of course!  But human nature being what it is, Ann Boleyn usurped the bed of mistress Queen Catherine of Aragon and became queen.  You don't want to know what happened to Ann Boleyn.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He came to show us a simple and new way to the full life we hunger for. He is the truth who can never deceive.
Two deep truths marked His entire life:
#1 Necessity of Prayer. (Luke 18: 1).
#2 Necessity of suffering. (Cf Luke 24: 26).

"If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it."  (John 13: 17).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The ABC of Evangelization

"Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."  (Mark 16: 15 - 16).

Today is the Feast St Mark the Evangelist. Happy feast day to all my friends named Mark.  God endowed Mark with the grace not just to preach the Gospel but to be author of what is considered the first Gospel and mother of all the Gospels.

Jesus gives us the Great Commission:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  What exactly are we to proclaim?  We are to proclaim Christ crucified as the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1: 23 - 24).  Note that we are not called to be philosophers or theologians but simply to share the Good News that Christ was dead. Christ is risen from the dead. Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.  It is as simple as ABC because God wants everyone to be involved.

"They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs."  (Mark 16: 20).
Amen. Alleluia!
God Never Fails. He is faithful.
"Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28: 20).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, April 23, 2018

Evangelization is the core mission of the Church.

"Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews."  (Acts 11: 19).

After Pentecost, it appeared that the infant Church went temporarily into a sleeping mode. But not for long. The Holy Spirit like the mother eagle had to wake them up by fluttering over them with loud shrieks.  The tool the Holy Spirit used was persecution. It worked. Henceforth, evangelization became the mission of the Church.

The Hebrew linguistic group evangelized the Jews wherever they sought refuge.  The Greeks evangelized their patriots. (Cf 11: 20).

The Holy Spirit is the Master and Leader of Evangelization.  He is the Principal Actor.  Our role is docile spectators.

As needs arose, the Holy Spirit sent the missionaries help from Jerusalem in the person of Barnabas who "was a good man, filled with the holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord."  (Cf Acts 11: 22 - 24).

Jesus says, "The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me."  (John 10: 25).

We lay people are called upon to become the tip of the spear in the work of Evangelization in the 22nd century.   The work we do in our Father's name must testify to us. (Cf John 10: 25).  Are you ready? Listen to the Church:

"Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."  (CCC 905).

The Church continues:
"This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful."  (CCC 905).

When you say yes, you will find that God will supply everything you need for the mission.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Holy Ghost is the Abundant life that Jesus promised.

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."  (John 10: 10).

In John 18: 37, Jesus told Pontius Pilate that the purpose of His coming is to bear witness to the truth.  In John 10: 10, He said that His purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life.  Do you believe that He who came to bear witness to the truth is telling the truth about coming to help us live life to the fullest? Are you living a great full life?

What really is Christ promising here? He is promising the unrationed gift of the Holy Spirit. (John 3: 34).  The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life.  (John 10: 10).

Deepak Chopra wrote in his book, "CREATING AFFLUENCE": "Affluence is the experience in which our needs are easily met and our desires spontaneously fulfilled. We feel joy, health, happiness, and vitality in every moment of our existence."  Our prayers are answered and we feel the pure joy of answered prayer.  The Holy Spirit is Abundant Life and the Creator of Affluence in our lives.

In the Veni Creator Spiritu (Come O Holy Spirit and fill the hearts...), we ask Abba Father to grant that we may always rejoice in the consolations of the Holy Spirit.  We are asking that our lives will overflow with abundant goods and affluence.

If you do not know what I am talking about, please prepare yourself for Pentecost. Pentecost 2018 is Sunday May 20th.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Good Shepherd is always there for me.

"I am the Good Shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep."  (John 10: 14 - 15).

The Good Shepherd image is my favorite image of Jesus.  I invoke in my prayers always.  Jesus is my Good Shepherd.  He guides me step-by-step. He provides everything I need.  My Good Shepherd protects me moment by moment.  When I walk through a neighborhood with unleashed dogs, I do not fear. (Cf Psalm 23).

I enjoy a stable relationship with my Good Shepherd. Jesus is not a fair weather friend.  He is not like some automobile insurance companies who are your friend on the condition that you remain accident free.  Jesus my Good Shepherd is always there, come what may.

One day, I was very anxious and my Good Shepherd said to me:
"Let Me have all your worries and cares, for I am always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you."  (1 Peter 5: 7). I made a list of 4 worries, noted the date and inserted the paper in my Missal.  One day, I found the list and scratched all the 4 items.

Like many people, I worry about money from time to time.  My Good Shepherd gently reproached me:
"Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For I say to you: “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.”  That is why you can say without any doubt or fear, “The Lord is my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.”  (Cf Hebrews 13: 5 - 6).

One day, I complained to my Good Shepherd:  “You have deserted me; the Lord has forgotten me.”
My Good Shepherd answered me:
“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?  Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!"  (Cf Isaiah 49: 14 - 15).  I was reassured.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

There are some of you who do not believe.

"Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”  (John 6: 60).

Today is Saturday, April 21 in the 3rd Week of Easter.  The Church concludes the Bread of life Discourse from Chapter 6 of the Gospel of St John started on Monday.  The end of the teaching is anticlimactic.  Jesus lost most of of His followers at the end of His teaching.

“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”  (John 6: 60). No doubt, the Eucharist is a hard doctrine to accept.  No religion on earth since the beginning of the world had made such an extravagant claim of eating human flesh and drinking human blood as conditio sine qua non for eternal life. But instead of backing down, Jesus pressed His point as He stared at the few who did not leave:  "But there are some of you who do not believe.”  (John 6: 64).  They looked back at Him in silence.

"It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life."  (John 6:  63).

The Holy Spirit is indispensable in understanding and accepting the Doctrine of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The key to accepting the Eucharist is Faith.  Faith in the truth that Jesus is God and that you can trust His word. The disciples believed in Jesus Christ. "We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”  (John 6: 69).  God neither lies nor deceives. (Cf 1 Peter 2: 22).  The followers of the Apostles after Pentecost believed that the Apostles had divine mandate from Jesus to teach the Faith, administer the Sacraments and appoint successors.  So it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Paul is My chosen instrument to carry My Name to the world.

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."  (Acts 9: 4-5).

Today is Friday, April 20 in the 3rd Week of Easter.  We interrupt the Bread of Life  Discourse to savor the Conversion of St Paul. The gentle breath of the LORD Jesus knocked Saul off his horse.  Blinded by the dazzling light coming from the Redeemer, Paul was led by hand into the city of Damascus where Saul met Ananias.

“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites,  and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”   (Acts 9: 15 - 16).

Here we witness Divine Intervention creating a unique Divine Mission.  Welcome Rabbi Saul to the Church.
A good part of Sacred Scripture is actual human experience that becomes a template for the life of faith.  Every day, God is creating your own scripture through your daily experiences.  Be proactive in this process through the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.”   (Acts 9: 17).

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Saul did not waste a moment before he started proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues as the Son of God. (Acts 9: 20).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Eucharist is the Church. The Church is the Eucharist.

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51).

Have you noticed that since Monday, April 16, 3rd Week of Easter, the Gospel has been from John 6.  The Gospel message this week is called the Bread of life discourse.  Jesus' promise to offer us His Body and Blood as food and drink is so important that in a curriculum of 52 weeks, the Church assigned one full week to this unique subject.

How does the Church understand The Eucharist?
The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life.".. ."For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."  (CCC 1324).
This is pretty a weighty statement.
To summarize this in words of Pope St John Paul II:
The Eucharist is the Church. The Church is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the raison d'etre for the existence of the priesthood. The Eucharist is intimately intertwined in the mystery of the Church and the priesthood. No priest, no Eucharist, no Church.  This is a well known axiom.

Thank You Jesus for the gift of Your Body and Blood.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Come and eat fresh whole wheat bread without cost.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."   (John 6: 35).

The Bread we receive in Holy Communion is exactly what is promised:  Jesus Christ. Jesus is the genuine Bread of life.  Under the appearance of bread and wine, He  gives us Himself in the Eucharist. That this is the constant teaching of the Church from the days of Acts 2: 42 to this day is a miracle. "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers."  (Acts 2: 42). Unless this sublime truth of our faith was guaranteed by God Himself, It would have been lost.  Thank You Abba Father.

Jesus fed 4000 people with seven loaves and a few fish. They all ate and were satisfied with plenty leftover.  "They ate and were satisfied."  (Mark 8:  8). 

Only Christ the Bread of life who knows exactly what we need and when we need it can perform such a miracle.  Remember the Wedding Feast at Canna? (John 2: 2 - 5). The people drank the best wine until they could drink no more.

Jesus fulfilled admirably the prophecy in Isaiah 55: 1 - 3).
"All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
Come, buy grain without money,
wine and milk without cost!"  (Isaiah 55: 1).

The Miracle of the feeding of 4000 people prefigures the Eucharist. 
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51)

Every single day, Jesus continues to feed millions of people with the finest wheat, the Bread of life.   (John 6 : 35;  Matthew 26: 26; 1 Corinthians 11: 24)

"He fed them with the finest wheat
and satisfied them with honey from the rock."  (Cf.  Psalm 81: 17 RM)

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep."  (Acts 7: 59 - 60).

This is how St Stephen, the first Christian martyr died.  Was Stephen ready to die as he died and when he died?  The answer is in this statement: "Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Suffering and dying comes with the territory of the Prophet.  Consider Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul, etc.

When you say in the Lord's Prayer (Our Father): "Your Kingdom Come."  How much do you mean it? Are your permanent interests and permanent residence solidly here on earth?  Clearly not Stephen's!

St Augustine says:
"If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, then all is well."

"Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, Lord, God of truth. You hate those who serve worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad in your mercy, once you have seen my misery, [and] gotten to know the distress of my soul."  (Psalm 31:  6 - 8).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Man needs the food for the Journey.

"Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you."  (John 6:  27).

What is Jesus saying here?  Abandon your job and go searching for some mystical food? To understand what Jesus means, we need to bring other scriptures.
"One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God."  (Matthew 4: 4).  One does not live by money alone... One does not live by job alone... One does not live by home or cars alone..
Man is created to live for ever. So he needs spiritual food as well.

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and at the end of the game to lose his soul? (Mark 6: 36).
To win in the game of life, you must keep the big picture in mind.  Jesus could not have come from heaven and lived among us and suffered the cruel agony we all witnessed on Good Friday just to procure for us the food that is eaten and quickly passes through to the latrine. (Cf Mark 7: 19).

Jesus is offering us Himself as food.  TAKE AND EAT. TAKE AND DRINK. IT IS ME.
The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  It is the medicine of immortality and the Food for the Journey. (St Ignatius of Antioch).  It is the food that is guaranteed to kill the appetite for lust, greed for filthy lucre and all other debased desires that poison and imprison the hearts and minds of women and men of this age.

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."  (John 6: 35).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.

"Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.”  (Luke 24: 38 ).

I recently found this inspirational advice by Pope St John XXIII:
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do."   Very good advice for the fearful Apostles after the Resurrection.

My hopes and dreams are about the future.  They deal mostly with desires and intentions on enhancements of my human potentials.

But my experiences are in a different category.  They are historical certainties. Your   experience is about how God dealt with you in the past. Eg on health, family, money, job, tools, food and future.   Your experiences form the core of your own scripture.  Do you keep a diary? Through the lens of your experiences, you can observe how God has been faithful to you over the years. St Ignatius Loyola advices that when you are in hardship, consider how God treated you mercifully at a period of prosperity in the past.  I have found this advice very helpful in my life.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, April 13, 2018

Do not be afraid. It is Me.

"They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat.  This frightened them, but he said, ‘It is I.  Do not be afraid.”  (John 6: 19 – 20)

"I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28: 2).  Jesus is in every event in our life.  He is saying to you here:  ‘Do not be afraid.  I am present with you as I promised.’  How can I make this truth serve me every single day?  In the midst of the turbulent events of my life, how can I call to mind the sure presence of Jesus?  Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery in the 17th century taught the world how to immerse oneself in the Presence of the Lord while doing his humble duties.  [THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD]. One way is to cultivate the presence of Jesus through the Jesus prayer.  Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I believe you are present in my life through the Holy Spirit.  I thank you for the peace and tranquility that is your gift.  Sometimes I forget about your presence and become anxious and afraid.  I feel that I am in control of events and I feel so inadequate.  Lord teach me to live in your presence every moment of my life.
 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, in God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what power has human strength over me?”  (Psalm 56: 3-4)

Jesus says to us:  "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."  (Luke 8: 50; Mark 5: 36)

In order to live constantly in the presence of Jesus, immerse yourself in the words of Jesus and say the Jesus prayer: Jesus!

“It is I.  Do not be afraid.”

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, April 12, 2018

If this Enterprise is from God, you can never destroy it.

"So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.  But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him."  (Acts 5: 38 - 39).

Every year after Easter, I look forward to this narrative from  Acts 5: 34 - 42.  It reinforces my faith.  I heard it at the beginning of my Journey of Faith and I relish to hear it again at this time in the Easter Season. You may call it the Gamaliel Principle text.  Gamaliel was a famous teacher in Israel at the time of the death of Jesus.  He was the teacher of St Paul and a member of the Sanhedrin.  He laid down a principle of discerning God's will in complex situations based on astute historical analysis. Divine action in history is predictable, he opined.

Members of the the Sanhedrin accepted Gamaliel's advice but went ahead to flog the Apostles in order to intimidate them.  You may call this state terrorism.  Read on to see if they succeeded.

"After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them." (Acts 5: 40).

"So they [Apostles] left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." (Acts 5: 41).

These men have tasted the Holy Spirit and were transformed by the experience.  Instead of quitting....

"All day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus."  (Acts 5: 42).

"What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"  (Acts 8: 31).

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]."  (Romans 8: 37 AMP).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Experience the Holy Spirit. Experience abundant life and affluence.

"He [The Father] does not ration his gift of the Spirit. (John 3: 34).

What other promise of the Father is so lavish?  You cannot find any other as lavish as the promise of the Holy Spirit or Wisdom.  Exactly the same thing.  Consider a few examples:

#1.  Solomon asked for Wisdom instead of wealth, power and long life and God was very pleased. "I here and now give you what you asked for and more...." (1 Kings 3: 11; 2 Chronicles 1: 11).
#2.  "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  (Luke 11: 13).  If you ask for the Holy Spirit, you get Him here and now.

Who is the Holy Spirit? The Creed teaches that the Holy Spirit is Lord and Giver of life.  The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10: 10.

Deepak Chopra in his book, "CREATING AFFLUENCE" writes: "Affluence is the experience in which our needs are easily met and our desires spontaneously fulfilled. We feel joy, health, happiness, and vitality in every moment of our existence."

Our prayers are answered and we feel the pure joy of answered prayer . The Holy Spirit is Abundant Life and the Creator of Affluence in our lives. 
Desire the Holy Spirit above gold and silver and ask the Father for the Holy Spirit and He will give Him to you here and now.  Experience affluence. Experience abundant life.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Yes I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life."  (John 3: 16).

So everyone who believes in Jesus has automatically eternal life? But what does it mean to believe in Jesus?

Every Sunday, the Church confesses its faith in Jesus Christ using the Apostles' or the Nicene Creed.  See below:

"I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead."

In the early Church and still true today, every person seeking membership of the Church must learn and memorize this formula.  The entire congregation repeats this formula when they renew the Baptismal vows and new members baptized at the Easter Vigil.  Why is this important or why does it matter? Because this Creed is the Light of Christ.  It is the mystery which was hidden for ages until Jesus Christ came to reveal these truths. "The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord's people." (Colossians 1: 26).

Now here is why Belief involves knowledge:
"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."  (1 John 5 : 4).  Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  (John 14: 6).  Amen!

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, April 09, 2018

The early Christians were of one heart and one mind.

"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common."  (Acts 4: 32).

The early Christian community had one heart and one mind in every question and situation.  Is it surprising then that they had everything in common? There were no communist or conservative factions amongst them.  Wait a minute. How did we get to where we are today?

Paul proclaimed to the Corinthians with confidence:  "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2: 16).

A modern compromise on the problem of disunity is put this way:" In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity."  This bogus quote was once attributed to St Augustine.  But no more.  The root of the radical relativism that undermines society, Church and family today is in my opinion the work of the Father of lies. Consider the following parable of Jesus:

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off."  (Matthew 13: 24 - 25).

Enable us Almighty Father to proclaim the power of our Risen Lord and invite Him to heal divisions amongst us. Amen.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Behold I was born to do your will.

"The Lord said, as he entered the world: Behold, I come to do your will, O God, alleuia."  (Hebrews 10: 5, 7).

Today April 9th is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, transferred from its usual date of March 25th because of Holy Week.

"Behold, I come to do your will, O God,."  (Hebrews 10: 7), which is a Scripture pointing to Christ but can fittingly be attributed to Mary.  Mary's one purpose in life is to do whatever God wants.

How about you? Still struggling to be master of your fortunes in all things? Kicking against the goad?

The Angel Gabriel coming to Mary said “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”  (Luke 1: 28).

You may wonder:  Mary is full of grace.  I am not.  How can I imitate her virtues? Hear this O Christian:
“The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you."  (Luke 1: 35).  Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do for you? (Genesis 18: 14).

"O God, who willed that your Word
should take on the reality of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect in the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord).

SeekFirstcommunity.com